Miles wants positive London Raiders mind-set
17:00 17 February 2017
Forward confident ahead of latest Chelmsford challenge
London Raiders forward Brandon Miles believes they can go into their home meeting with Chelmsford this weekend in a positive frame of mind, despite losing to the newly-crowned National League champions last weekend.
Raiders, without leading scorer Marek Nahlik, went down 5-3 at the Riverside Ice Arena after conceding a fifth goal late on, but Miles feels they can upset their fierce rivals, with a two-legged cup semi-final against the Chieftains on the horizon next weekend.
He said: “My thoughts on the Chelmsford game were all positives. We went on a road trip into the league champion’s arena and put on a good performance.
“We could have been better at times, taking out key players of their team in our defensive zone, but our defence played exceptionally well given the fact we have a couple of guys carrying injuries.
“We have to play them another three times, so that was a great way to prepare and finalise what we need to do when we play them again this weekend.”
Raiders foud themselves two goals down with barely 10 minutes played after Juraj Huska’s brace, but Slavomir Buda and JJ Pitchley had them back on terms at the first break.
Chelmsford restored their two-goal cushion before the midway mark, but Pitchley’s second goal of the night gave Raiders hope of salvaging something, before the home side struck again with 81 seconds to go.
Raiders had been left to rue a late goal in Bracknell the night before, after letting a three-goal lead slip in a 4-4 draw.
Stewart Tait, Sam Roberts and Miles all netted inside the first 10 minutes to put them in control, but the Hornets hit back through Conor Redmond and a Ben Ealey-Newman brace to level.
Young defenceman Callum Burnett then looked to have secured victory for Raiders with his first goal for the club in the 57th minute, but Danny Hughes ensured honours finished even with 60 seconds left on the clock.
Miles added: “We let the game slip over a couple of silly mistakes. Maybe we thought we had the game in the bag before it was over, when really we needed to focus and play a move defensive structure to finish off the game.
“It felt great scoring against my old side and I’ve now scored three times in the two games we have played them. It shows my new team-mates and coach that even though I have good friends there, I am willing to do whatever it takes to put us in front.”
Despite the disappointment of only drawing with the league’s bottom club, Miles had praise for 16-year-old blue liner Burnett.
He said: “Callum has put up solid performances in the games he has iced. I remember being his age, getting a small amount of ice time for the Slough Jets when they were in the EPL and it was nerve-wracking, but he has handled it very well.
“He works very hard in training and always puts in 100 per cent effort every session. He still has a lot to learn, as I do coming up into this league, but with hard work and commitment I can see him getting a regular shift and spot on the team.”
Raiders are set to visit Streatham on Sunday, having failed to score on their two previous trips to south London this season.
They were shut out in a cup match in September by Euan King, who joined Raiders a few weeks later, and then recorded a rare 0-0 draw in late November, when Matt Colclough and Michael Gray were the two goalies.
The sides drew 4-4 in the cup in Lee Valley, before Streatham claimed a 4-3 win in the league.